A study carried out by the Belles Demeures site of the SeLoger group, specializing in the sale of high-end properties, reflects the perception of the market by wealthy buyers.
The coronavirus crisis prompts two in three respondents to believe that the prices of luxury real estate will fall in the next six months. Two-thirds of them even expect a drop of at least 10%. This is what emerges from the annual barometer Belles Demeures, brand of the SeLoger group, carried out between June 11 and 29, with Opinion Way, with 316 future buyers of a luxury property in France. “We are talking about properties that are remarkably well located, for example with an exceptional view, a particular charm or high-quality architecture and facilities,” explains Nathalie Garcin, president of the network of agencies Émile Garcin. Properties whose prices generally oscillate “between 600,000 and several million euros”, continues Thibault de Saint-Vincent, president of Barnes, one of the leaders in high-end real estate.
Among the surveyed panel, 61% consider that their financial situation will remain stable. However, 75% of them anticipate a deterioration in the French economy leading to a fall in the prices of luxury real estate. This is why 69% find the current prices unrealistic, and that only 40% of buyers believe that it is time to invest, against 59% last year.
The province and its houses attract
Despite these negative perceptions, this market remains for 44% of clients as safe an investment as it was before the crisis, and 15% of investors even go so far as to say that it is more so than before. In fact, no more than 22% say they have postponed their project, and only 2% have abandoned it. “In Paris, 80% of our buyers were still in our files following the confinement, says Thibault de Saint-Vincent. And in the provinces we are recording a 25% increase in registrations.” Figures that reflect the dynamism of the post-containment market and investor confidence. However, this is the paradox of this survey: the respondents imagine that prices will fall, while they are still as numerous as before wanting to offer themselves a prestige property.
“Since May 11, we have not felt a drop in activity,” confirms Nathalie Garcin. In this context, how can we imagine a fall in prices? The director of Emile Garcin does not want to ignite: “We have to wait until September to be sure that prices will not decrease, but at the moment this is not the case.” It is not the prices which evolve, but rather the sought after goods. “Our provincial offices work a lot,” says Nathalie Garcin. People are looking for homes in the main residence that would have been second homes in other times. “
At Barnes, a couple with four children living in Montmartre looking for an apartment in inner Paris changed their criteria completely and finally settled in Saint-Malo. “Cities like Biarritz or Deauville are doing particularly well, because they are well served and enjoy regular activity throughout the year,” Thibault de Saint-Vincent analyzes. Nevertheless, even if professionals note that some owners are giving up their large Parisian apartment to replace it with a pied-à-terre and afford a main residence in the provinces, this does not pull prices down because the capital remains subject to a strong request. What is more, in a worrying economic context where luxury real estate is also seen as a safe haven just like gold.